London Report: Rise of support for Scottish Yes vote knocks FTSE shares

BRITAIN’S top shares fell further from last week’s 14-year high yesterday, hurt by firms with exposure to Scotland after a poll unexpectedly showed a lead for supporters of Scottish independence before the 18 September referendum.

The YouGov survey for the Sunday Times newspaper was the first this year to give the Yes campaign a lead, putting it on 51 per cent against the No camp on 49 per cent, overturning a 22-point lead for the unionist campaign in just a month.

The British government scrambled to respond by promising a range of extra new powers for Scotland if it chooses to stay within the United Kingdom.

Companies with strong business ties to Scotland fell across the board.

Defence contractor Babcock lost 2.3 per cent and engineering group Weir 1.5 per cent. Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland fell 2.4 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively, insurer Standard Life dropped 2.4 percent and energy supplier SSE 2.3 percent. The FTSE 100 closed down 20.33 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 6,834.77, well off its 4 September multi-year high.